BANK of Scotland Foundation, an independent charity supporting people and their local communities across Scotland, had its busiest year in 2018, awarding 121 grants to Scottish charities totalling £1,661,157.

Awards were made through the foundation’s small, medium and large grants programmes. However, its mental health fund – an additional programme launched in May – meant more charities than ever received funding last year.

In the second half of 2018 alone, 79 Scottish charities shared £801,227 of small, medium and mental health grants. The majority of grants contributed towards salaries and running costs.

Charities that received funding in the second half of the year included Glasgow-based Sparks SCIO, who received a small grant of £3000 to contribute towards running costs of children’s activities.

Music in Hospitals & Care Scotland were awarded a £12,000 medium grant, enabling them to deliver live music in care homes and hospitals in the Highlands. Positive Action in Housing, meanwhile, will use a £16,736 grant to help deliver multilingual financial capability sessions to refugee and ethnic minority communities in Glasgow.

The mental health fund distributed money to 28 charities that deliver projects focusing on mental health, sharing £356,473 in 2018. It’s anticipated that almost 5000 individuals will directly benefit from those grants, with a large number of those supported being children and young people living in deprived areas who have had little or no access to support.

Philip Grant, chair of the foundation’s board of trustees and chair of the Scottish Executive Committee, Lloyds Banking Group, said: “This has been a very busy year for the Bank of Scotland Foundation team and for our mental health fund in particular.

“It’s a poignant indication that so many people across Scotland are affected by mental health issues and are in need of help.

“We are really excited to have recently launched our new website which we hope makes it easier for charities to apply to our grant programmes, and showcases some of the work being carried out across Scotland by charities we have funded.”

He added: “The foundation is proud to be able to help charities reach those in real need of support and looks forward to funding many more in 2019.”